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Posted on: May 10, 2019

Get to Know Retired Justice Brent Dickson and Hear from Him on May 21!

Check out the interview below and meet Retired Justice Brent Dickson at our CLE and social event on May 21!

By Jon Noyes, Wilson Kehoe Winingham

You retired from the Indiana Supreme Court just over three years ago. How have you been enjoying retirement? What have you enjoyed most?
Retirement has given me increased opportunities to share time with my wife and our family, and to assist the court in administrative matters assigned to my by Chief Justice Rush. When I came to the court from private practice in 1986, one of my biggest surprises was what I called the luxury of time control (freedom from discovery deadlines, court dates and times, urgent client demands, etc.). Now the transition into retirement has significantly magnified this luxury of time control, but now I find that I miss the structure.  

We are so excited to have you on our bench for the CLE. What is the most interesting insurance issue that have addressed on the bench?
Perhaps the use of house counsel by insurance companies in liability claims, as in Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Willis, 717 N.E.2d 151 (Ind. 1999). 
We have a great panel of lawyers arguing before you for this CLE. What is the most interesting technique or style you’ve seen during oral argument?
The best oral advocates are those who have mastered the art of listening rather than talking. Lawyers who pause, who make eye contact with judges, who subtly encourage questions from the bench, who watch the judges’ reactions, and who then spontaneously address the individual judge’s concerns—these are the advocates who are most effective.

We also have a great panel of judges participating in this CLE, including the Honorable Heather Welch from the Marion County Superior Court. As a judge, what is your favorite part of oral argument?
Among my favorites are the opportunity for fascinating legal dialogue, the civility among opposing advocates and their courtesy and respect for one another, and for the court. I fondly recall one argument in 2009 in Owens v. State in which Deputy Attorney General Ellen Meilander, responding to a series of questions from Justice Boehm, stated “I think I may have confused the Court,” to which Justice Boehm replied, “I don’t think you’ve confused the court—I did it all by myself.”

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